A Question for the New Year

WOW! What a terrific question from Edge.org:

What have you changed your mind about? Why?

Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert: “In 2002, Jane Ebert and I discovered that people are generally happier with decisions when they can’t undo them. When subjects in our experiments … couldn’t undo their decisions they tended to concentrate on the good features and ignore the bad. … I had always believed that love causes marriage. But these experiments suggested to me that marriage could also cause love.”

Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith: “Like many people, I once trusted in the wisdom of Nature…and thought that, with the advent of genetic engineering, we would be tinkering with life at our peril. I now believe … the history of life on this planet has been one of merciless destruction and blind, lurching renewal … Those that survive do so despite Her indifference … There is nothing about natural selection that suggests our optimal design … Mother Nature is not now, nor has she ever been, looking out for us.”

Kevin Kelly, author of New Rules for the New Economy: “Much of what I believed about human nature, and the nature of knowledge, has been upended by the Wikipedia … I knew from my own 20-year experience online that … an aggregation of random contributions would be a total mess … How wrong I was … The reality of a working Wikipedia has made a type of communitarian socialism not only thinkable, but desirable … When you grow up knowing rather than admitting that such a thing as the Wikipedia works; when it is obvious to you that open source software is better; when you are certain that sharing your photos and other data yields more than safeguarding them—then these assumptions will become a platform for a yet more radical embrace of the commonwealth … Its mind-changing power is working subconsciously on the global millennial generation, providing them with an existence proof of a beneficial hive mind, and an appreciation for believing in the impossible.”

Futurist Peter Schwartz: “In the last few years I have changed my mind about nuclear power. I used to believe that expanding nuclear power was too risky. Now I believe that the risks of climate change are much greater than the risks of nuclear power … Furthermore, human skill and knowledge in managing a nuclear system are only likely to grow with time.”

OK. Truth-telling time. What have YOU changed your mind about?